Wedding Tips—Choosing the Right Photographer

Gloom & groommen's victory huddle

Wedding Tips—Choosing the Right Photographer…Let’s face it selecting the right photographer for your wedding is important. The photos will preserve precious memories for a lifetime, and something you want to show your grandchildren. Here is some advice to consider when you pick the photographer for your wedding (even if you get a friend to do it):

  1. Do your research. View the photo galleries of your top choices of photographers to determine if they take interesting, personable photos. I was amazed at the differences I found between the top four photographers I considered for my daughter’s wedding. I was shocked to find boring photos with poor lighting in some incidents. One photographer had an amazing photo to lead his gallery, but the rest were unexciting and lacked imagination.
  2. Consider the cost of your photographer. If the price is not within your budget, remove them from your list immediately so you are not tempted to keep them under consideration.
  3. Evaluate what included in the price of the photo shoot. Does part of the price of hiring the photographer include providing an online download or a DVD of all the photos when the job is done? Just six years ago I remember photographers in our area didn’t offer you the digital copies of the photos as part of the package—all prints had to be ordered through them and scans were breaking your contract with them. So make sure all photos will be given to you in HD digital format before you sign a contract and pay your deposit. If photographers aren’t providing digital photos as part of the deal, in my opinion they need to learn a new way of doing business.
  4. Select a photographer who will make the bride and groom comfortable. This may not be an issue for some, but it can be important. If the bride and groom don’t feel at home with the photographer, they will not look at ease in the pictures. They need to be themselves in front of the camera for the best results.
  5. If you ask a friend to take your photos to save money, don’t automatically assume they know what photos to take and exactly what to do. Remember, not everyone has been closely involved in a wedding and may not know. We hired a professional photographer, and she gave us a list of typical photos taken for the wedding: pre-ceremony, the ceremony, and the reception. If your photographer doesn’t provide a list, work together with him/her to make detailed list before the big day.
  6. For the photo session for your formal and candid photos, make a timeline with estimated timing so that everyone is on the same page.
  7. To help facilitate the process, I also added individual names of each person after each photo group (i.e. bride with bridesmaids—names here…entire wedding party—names here…parents with bride and groom—names here). This really helped the photographer and kept everything running smoothly. It wasn’t all that much more work, and it was efficient. The photographer complimented me more than once regarding how helpful the list was to her. As part of the planning, we had a family member assigned to help facilitate the process and make sure everyone was there. But with an email to everyone, the announcement at the reception, and the individual names after each person on the list, we barely needed any other directing.
  8. The bride and groomdecided to take most formal photos before the ceremony. The photographer had a special presentation of the bride. This made it unique time for them. Taking the photos before the ceremony saved time. We had heard horror stories about the bride and groom being so late for their reception that guests began to leave.

I hope my post helped you with your planning, and that your photos turn out wonderful!

Leave a comment on information you’d like to pass on regarding a wedding photographer.


If you missed, Keeping costs low for your wedding—Part 1, I invite you to visit:

If you missed, Keeping costs low for your wedding—Part 2, visit

~ Karen Gaus ~

Karen Gaus, Author & Speaker

Keeping costs low for your wedding—Part 2

blog wedding imageKeeping costs low for your wedding—part 2… Here is more on cutting costs for your wedding without ignoring what’s important …

  1. 4.     Decorations: We bought tulle online by the bolt and used it for pew bows and draping. For vases, I searched e-bay and found some attractive ones for very reasonably priced.

Have you ever tried to buy the vase marbles/pearls? This can be expensive, but I discovered water pearls. It comes in packages of a powdery-looking substance. One teaspoon expands in water to 400 times its size and fills a 12”x4” vase. I spent about $15 for enough to fill 10 large vases. It looked very attractive and colorful. You only have to put them in water a few days before the wedding, and they stay expanded for several days.

5.     More on decorations: The Christmas before my daughter’s May wedding, I searched for and bought strings of clear lights with the white cord. This was less expensive and much easier to obtain than buying another time of the year. We used the lights wrapped in tulle and draped between columns, in the entryway, behind the bride/groom’s table, and more. Usually Wal-mart and Hobby Lobby sells large numbers of these lights, but they were sold out in our area stores. I found them well-stocked at Lowes. The best prices were the Project Source Mini-lights.

I also purchased white battery-operated candles during the Christmas season. Again this was because the availability and price is much better at Christmas.

Another cost-saving tip is to use decorations purchased and rented for the ceremony and move it to the reception location so that you get twice the good from the item. We did this with the flowers, columns, and candelabras. This takes some planning and some giving family members to pull this off, but it might be worth it for you. It was for us.Blog_wedding

6.     Dress: The wedding dress can be one of the more costly items. To me that was one of the things I put priority on. If I had to cut almost the whole wedding budget, I wanted to put the rest of the money on the dress, and we did end up spending a lot for the dress. But during the search for my daughter’s perfect dress, we found out that we had other options… J.C. Penney has a lovely wedding dress for under $150. Also, David’s Bridal has a few dresses for under $500. We didn’t buy the Penney’s or David’s Bridal dresses, but it was under consideration and is a great option for someone with a small budget.

We had a lot of fun planning and decorating for my daughter’s wedding. Hope you have the same experience. (o:
~ Karen Gaus ~

Karen Gaus, Author & Speaker

Keeping costs low for your wedding—Part 1

blog_wedding photoKeeping costs low for your wedding—Part 1…When my only daughter became engaged, I wanted to help her have a beautiful, memorable wedding. The Internet provided excellent resources for timelines and to-do lists (suggested links below). But coming up with a great plan was just the beginning. I had to keep costs down as well…so doing much of the work and planning ourselves was a given. Here are some of the specifics we did to help keep the cost down:

  1. 1. Stores who help: Hobby Lobby has a bridal section in their store and are excellent for some items that look as good as everyone else’s but are significantly less money. Some of these things include topping for the cake, boutonnieres, veil, serving knifes for the cake, bridal bouquet,  unity candles, garter, gift sacks, bubbles for the going-away send-off, decorative gems and more. Hobby Lobby has their His/Her wedding items on half off on a regular basis. (Note: if you do not have a Hobby Lobby, Wal-Mart has wedding products in their craft section that has many of these items.)
  2. Blog_sillk wedding flowersFlowers: Consider using silk flowers for some or all of your flowers. We have a florist in town who will work with people. We waited for the flowers at Hobby Lobby to go on half-price and bought the highest-quality and most realistic flowers available. Then we took the flowers to the florist, and they would arrange them for us for the cost of their labor. Also, my sister is talented in arranging flowers, so she did some of the arrangements. This was less expensive than using real flowers. Be sure to price and shop around for real and silk before you commit. (Warning: some florists are unwilling to work with silk flowers. We were fortunate to find a talented florist who would do this.) Be sure to keep your receipts in case you don’t use them all.
  3. Cake: Wedding cakes can be expensive. Some families know someone who will make a beautiful cake as a gift or at a discount to the bride and groom. We had no such friend. I priced cakes and the one I wanted was about $850 at the local bakery. This was just too much money. I had other things I wanted to put the money toward. Then I found someone who did some gorgeous cakes for around $250-$300, but the person was booked the weekend of the wedding. This is what I did. I researched and found that our grocery store chain did wedding cakes. All I had to do was go online to look for the design and the serving size. Then I talked to the appropriate grocery store employee in person. They did lovely cakes for between $100-250. I only had to finalize and pay in full two weeks before the wedding. For the presentation of the cake, my sister made a satin-covered pedestal, and I purchased a nice topping at Hobby Lobby. (I only made one mistake. I thought I would have too much cake, and I didn’t have enough. If I had known, I would have purchased more cake. Our guests were so polite that no one told me. My husband was the one to tell me.)

Part 2 for Keeping Costs Low for Your Wedding will be posted on Thursday.

Links for some good wedding timelines: and

~ Karen Gaus ~

Karen Gaus, Author & Speaker